Pope visits Canada to mend fences with Indigenous communities

by | Jul 23, 2022 | World

Pope Francis will arrive in Canada on Sunday to commence a cross-country trip to seek penance for the devastation the Catholic Church inflicted upon Indigenous peoples who attended abusive Indian Residential Schools.Following a historic apology given by the pontiff to Indigenous delegates and survivors of the notorious schools in Rome in April, the Roman Catholic pope announced his desire to “meet and embrace” the Indigenous community.
He said that “Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed Indigenous communities in various ways.”
The pope’s mission followed invitations he received from the Church and civil authorities in Canada, and from First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples in Canada.
The Catholic Church oversaw approximately 60 percent of the 139 federally mandated residential schools designed to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children into mainstream Canadian culture.  More than 150,000 Indigenous children attended the institutions from the late 1800s until 1997, when the last school closed.
Abuses were widespread and Indigenous languages and cultural practices were forbidden. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) has documented the deaths of more than 6,000 children at residential schools. Not all the deaths listed on the registry include burial records. But since 2017, the unmarked graves of thousands of Indigenous children have been discovered on the former grounds of residential schoo …

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